ELBURN – The Elburn American Legion Post 630 is raising funds to build two brick monuments at Veterans Memorial Park on east North Street that will house bronze plaques honoring World War I and World War II veterans from Elburn. The plaques were originally located in the front hall of the Legion building at 112 N. Main St., Elburn, where they have hung for the past 65 years.
One plaque contains the names of the nine Elburn men who died in the service of their country during World War I and World War II.
The other plaque contains the names of all Elburn residents who served in either war.
The Legion building, which was built in 1953 with community donations, for a time served as the central hub of the community. Legion member Dan Kolzow said the building once housed a first-grade classroom, and during the 1960s, the village’s offices were located there.
In recent years, the Post has been somewhat more dormant, and the building has not been as visible to the public. Legion members, led by veteran John Reece, came up with the idea to relocate the plaques to Veterans Memorial Park, where they will be seen and appreciated by more people.
“We just can’t pay enough homage and thank these veterans enough for the sacrifices they made to save this country and to keep the world free from tyranny,” he said. “World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars. World War II [vets] were the generation that saved the world.”
A 26-foot-long, 57-ton decommissioned M60A3 main battle tank on loan from the U.S. Army sits upon a concrete pad extending into a five-pointed star, one for each branch of United States military service, in the center of the park. The plaques will be installed on the brick monuments in front of the tank, Reece said.
The Legion also wants to install five permanent flagpoles – one at each point of the star surrounding the tank – to fly the five branches of service flags on appropriate occasions and holidays.
Reece said the Legion envisions the park being used by the Legion for events, picnics and services on patriotic holidays, as well as by members of the public.
Randy Voss of Draft Pros Inc. donated his architectural services to draft the plans for the monument, Pat White Construction will pour the concrete, and the brick work will be done by Mike Mealman of Big Red Masonry. The Legion also plans to light the memorial plaques and the existing flagpoles, with the electrical work to be done by Cambridge Electric owner and electrician Kolzow.
A Memorial Dedication Ceremony will take place at Veterans Memorial Park on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. That date marks the 65th anniversary of the date that the plaques were originally dedicated – Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1953.
The Legion will pay for the installation with money from its memorial fund and through public and private donations. Bricks may be purchased at $5 for three bricks and $10 for six. Two sponsorship levels are available. Level 1, with a donation of $150, earns businesses or individuals their name and donation published in the Elburn Herald, VIP seating at the Memorial Dedication Ceremony, two tickets to the appreciation dinner and a certificate of appreciation.
Level 2, with a donation of $250 or more, earns businesses and individuals their name on a brass plaque attached to the rear of the memorial, in addition to the other recognitions for a Level 1 sponsorship.
Bricks and sponsorships can be purchased at the American Legion office during Queen of Hearts raffle sales hours from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or in the Bunker Bar, located in the basement, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday or from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. They are also available at the American Bank & Trust at 8 S. Main St., Elburn.
For information, call the Legion number at 630-365-6530 and leave a message or call Reece directly at 847-975-9743.